On the weekends, I deejay at all manner of events. From cherished weddings, to thumping club gigs, to secret house parties there is a chance that you’ll probably find me spinning my Pioneers somewhere in the Detroit area at any given Friday or Saturday. So when DJ Hero was announced, I was extremely happy. FINALLY a deejay game in the vein of Guitar Hero that will keep me buying plastic junk for my living room.
Then, Scratch: The Ultimate DJ was announced.
Then, Armin Van Buuren – In The Mix was announced.
Suddenly, I’m worn out of the deejay rhythm-game genre before it even saw the flourescent WalMart light.
I decided to take it upon myself to scope out the three bigger releases in the DJ genre and see which (if any) seems like it might be worth my purchase. In this article, I’ve compared all 3 games (with images & video) to hopefully help you do the same. No, I have not provided glow sticks.
On with the show!
Armin van Buuren – In The Mix
This is the general dark horse of the genre, so I thought I would place it first in the list. Developed by Foreign Media Games and using only the WiiMote, the game is exclusive to the Nintendo Wii. The above concept visuals remind me of trippy audio screen savers from my Windows 95 days. The flailing of arms to play and create music could be reminiscent of some of the hacked-PC WiiJay videos we’ve seen in the past. With van Buuren’s name behind it I expect to enjoy some great dance, trance, and techno beats.
The game has quite a few modes, including career, quickplay, and a no fail “party mode” that lets players free spin. This could be great for me to bring to gigs and spin freeform for party-goers. Another interesting mode is the Studio Mode which let’s players and aspiring deejays create and mix their own tracks using music elements found in the game in a “paint by numbers” style of creation, akin to a simplified Acid DJ software package. No word on if the tracks can be exported to any other formats. The following concept art also shows off some of the “crowd” design as well as the zones of the play screen. No word on a release date, but expect it to get jumbled up in the Fall with the plethora of other huge releases.
When DJ Hero was first announced, I thought “Duh. It’s about time!” A huge fan of Guitar Hero, a DJ version would be a natural fit. But, how would the game function? What would the controller look like? As you can see by the video above (and the images below) the DJ Hero turntable controller is about what one would expect. It includes 3 buttons, a slider, an efx dial, sample buttons, and a scratchable record table for… scratching. As the track moves left and right on the screen, the player uses the slider in much the same way, throwing in effects and scratches when needed. The majority of the input takes place with the 3 buttons, however… true to the other Hero games. Not too much is known about the game modes, but the standard career and free play modes should be there.
The controller has a very nice and solid look to it, and the game could turn out to be quite fun while capturing what I like about Guitar Hero already. Also announced in a round-about way was that Jay-Z and Eminem will be lending their music in a special pack-in, which includes the turntable, stand, and carrying case. Highlighted in the game will be one of my favorite producers, DJ Shadow, who’s having a ball promoting Hero on his own. The game looks to have music from Dance, Hip Hop, and Rock artists, allowing for some really incredible mixes.
Scratch: The Ultimate DJ
Not much is known about Scratch other than it is being handled by what seems like an endless supply of publishers and developers. The product looks to be similar to DJ Hero in idea: colors = notes hit on screen, with some movement left to right via slider. The Numark-developed/branded wheel here is touch-sensitive, and the pads allow players to play & hit samples. To note, the game allows for the plug-in of a USB microphone for added sample-capturing.
Scratch includes several popular musical acts, from Hip Hop to Pop and beyond, that will allow for more of an underground urban feel.
So there you have it. The 3 big DJ games (that we know about) heading to store shelves this Fall. Each look to have some unique experiences, using a deck or WiiMote or creating music or sampling. I can say that DJ Hero is the one I’m leaning to most as a conventional music rhythm game, but In The Mix could be terrific for actual performances. Scratch looks to have a “complete” package somewhere in the middle.
We’ll know more at E3 when we can hope to get our hands on a few of these games.
And this time, I WILL bring the glowsticks.